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Research Methods Lecture 7 Research Question

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Courtney Thomas

on 28 December 2015

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Transcript of Research Methods Lecture 7 Research Question

Where to Start?
Before you formalize your hypothesis, you must do exploratory research on your variables
Here comparisons often become useful
Go to the existing literature and read EVERYTHING!
Define and Refine
This whole process can feel very "chicken and egg"-y
You want to start with a general research topic, start to develop a question, come up with a tentative hypothesis, do a LOT of reading and research, refine your question, and then refine your hypothesis--often SEVERAL times before you've got it right
Reinventing the Wheel
Research Questions
This is, in most cases, the most difficult part of the research process
There is a lot to consider
Feasibility
Applicability
Capacity
Ethics
Contribution to the field
Variables
Dependent variables: what we want to understand (the effect)
Independent variables: the factors that are likely to impact the dependent variable (the "causes")
The link between the two is a hypothesis
Intervening variables: condition the relationships between other variables (strength v. weakness or direction of the relationship)
Antecedent variables: come into play before the independent variable
Research Methods
PSCI 2024
Winter 2016
Dr. Courtney Thomas
Lecture 7: Research Question

"Original" Research
Independent projects, MA theses, dissertations, post-graduation projects
Not necessarily your goal for any particular class
You WILL begin with descriptive or exploratory research
BUT you'll want to push it to the "next level" with a WHY?
Rival Hypotheses
You want to have a hypothesis that links your independent and dependent variables but you also want to come up with alternative linkages and explanations
Cannot both be valid
Often that the relationship between the two variables is spurious, that is, caused by a third factor
The null hypothesis is generally that there is no relationship at all between the variables
You don't necessarily have to reinvent the wheel
Some very interesting research is done by repeating experiments that have already been done in a different time, location, or context
And there's often an advantage to "putting it all together" in one place
REMEMBER: you are most likely NOT looking for a causal relationship!!!
Full transcript